Uta no Prince-sama - Maji Love Revolutions
by Rebecca Silverman,
Thus far over the course of three seasons, Haruka hasn't really had to interact with anyone too unpleasant. Sure, Tokiya could be a jerk in season one, but there hasn't been anyone truly awful. Well, that changes this episode, which pairs her up with Quartet Night's Camus. Shining Saotome has just built a gaudy tower taller than anything else in Tokyo (called “Shining Tower,” of course) and he wants Haruka to write a song for Camus to perform at its opening. Haruka, who clearly writes even more than I do, is game, but when she asks Camus for his input, he tells her to go away and come back when she's written a song. This is a problem because what she's asking him for is information about his singing preferences, so without him actually giving her any hints, she has nothing to go on. Later when she asks if she can tag along with him while he works so that she can glean some kind of inspiration to write him a decent piece of music, he agrees...but only if she'll be his slave. (The word in the subtitles is later changed to “servant.”) Apparently this isn't unusual behavior for Camus – Cecil, his roommate, is incensed by Camus' treatment of the composer, not just because he's a nice guy, but also because he's been at Camus' mercy himself. Haruka being the push-over that she is, she sticks with it, but all of Starish keeps popping by to make sure that she's okay, which is my favorite small detail of the episode.
Camus is a character we haven't seen much of, and while he's pretty unsympathetic, there is something undeniably amusing about watching him alter his personality (and his voice – Tomoaki Maeno does a great job) when he's in the public eye. Arguably this could make him seem less genuine than the Starish boys, but we can also see it as a sign of a veteran performer – Starish is still living the dream as essentially debut idols, but Camus' been around the block a few times before, and the bloom is off the rose for him. The real problem is that he's so demanding of Haruka, as if he's punishing her for wanting to do her job well. While I realize that “be my slave/servant” is a standard trope of the shoujo romance (and the josei ones as well, to a degree), it isn't one that's particularly tasteful, and Camus' high-handed treatment of Haruka doesn't sit well with me. However, that's my personal taste in fictional men, and if you prefer the more forceful type, Camus may fit the bill. Almost up until the end he shows no interest in Haruka as a person, so when he finally does, there's something rewarding about it.
Once again the animation seems to be on an upswing, at least in terms of how everyone looks. The details of Camus' various outfits, as well as Haruka's, are very nice, and there's really something to be said about the fact that we never see Haruka wear the same outfit twice while she's shadowing Camus, a consideration of the actual size of a person's wardrobe that we don't always see in anime. (She also has a consistent style, which is nice.) There isn't much dancing, unfortunately, even when Camus sings at the end, but the general look of the episode is better than what we were getting when the season began. Also nice is the fact that everyone gets a moment on-screen once again, so if you're pining for Ran or Otoya, you'll at least get a glimpse of him. Cecil actually gets the most character development, as his keen sense of fairness comes to the fore, to say nothing of his irritation with his roommate. Generally he's been shown as being perky and a little bit dippy, so these new depths help to bring him into his own.
This isn't an especially exciting episode of UtaPri, and Camus' personality and the fact that the episode really centers on Haruka can make it a bit less enjoyable than others of the season. But it does shift the focus to someone we really haven't dealt with before while bringing us beautiful young men and a special insert song, so to be fair, UtaPri as a show continues to deliver what it promised with great consistency.
Uta no Prince-sama - Maji Love Revolutions is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Rebecca Silverman is ANN's senior manga critic.
discuss this in the forum (30 posts) |